Monday, September 26, 2016

Enter the circle (Genesis 1:1-2:3)

/sermon/

A little girl asked her mother, "How did the human race appear?" The mother answered, "God made Adam and Eve and they had children, and so was all mankind made.." Two days later the girl asked her father the same question.. The father answered, "Many years ago there were monkeys from which the human race evolved." The confused girl returned to her mother and said, "Mom, how is it possible that you told me the human race was created by God, and Dad said they developed from monkeys?" The mother answered, "Well, dear, it is very simple. I told you about my side of the family and your father told you about his."

How did everything begin? How did God create the world? What was it like in the beginning?

Today we are starting a new series of sermons, called: " The Gospel of Genesis" Let's now read Genesis chapter 1 verses 1-8, 26-31 and from chapter 2 verses 1 – 3.

In Hebrew the gospel of Genesis is called " In the beginning" because  it starts with the phrase: "In the beginning". The main topics in Genesis are about: the creation of the universe, the birth of the human race, and the establishment of the Jewish nation.

From it God creates one  cherished community, which becomes His chosen nation, from which nation the new creation of Jesus Christ through the New Testament was  created. Actually, we are a part of this "new" creation.

The book of Genesis is much more than just a chronological story of the beginning. From the gospel of Genesis we learn who God is – the word "God" is used about 35 times  in this gospel. But today we're going to talk about the first beginning – the  creation of the Universe. We will see what the purpose of God's creation is.

Lots of people ask themselves how was the planet Earth formed and how life emerged. But the Bible isn't created in order to answer this question. The Bible isn't a student book in biology. The question how was the planet Earth and life on it created is answered by science. And the Bible the one that tells us WHY.
 
For example, imagine that you receive a present for your birthday. You unwrap it and see inside it some kind of a machine. You don't ask how long did it take for this machine to be created or what instruments were used for it to be done. No. You want to know what the functions of the machine are, why is it created, why did they give it to you for a present.

 In the same way Genesis chapter 1 does not describe the process of creation in a scientific language. Moses's purpose was to tell us what God did , in a language  comprehensible for us. 
The evolutionists theory is about a big explosion and a gradual emergence and development of life – from the ameba to the human being. Genesis 1 speaks about the world which isn't a fruit of the cosmic randomness. God was the one who created everything.

We read in Genesis 1:1 " In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth"
The word "created" is ............ This word is used only for God. It includes the idea of the creation from nothing , "ex nihilo"

Three scientists decided to tell God that they did not need Him because science had already unveiled enough so they could do anything they wanted to. Then God told them: "Ok then guys, lets have a competition and see who will be the first to create the first human being." The scientists answered: " Okay, and one of them was about to take some dirt from the ground when God stopped him with the words: " Excuse me, you can't use my material"

Genesis chapter one presents to us God as a creator. And He has done that through the Gospel.
Genesis chapter 1 verse 3 : "And God said: Let there be light. And there was light."
How is that possible? How is it possible to call things in existence? When I say: "Let there be light" I need to turn on a light or to light a match. But when God says that it happens.God's word is powerful. But why?

John chapter 1 verses 1 – 3 : "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." Later on the gospel was to become flesh and start living among us. ( In John 1:14)

Paul also calls Jesus Christ God's Gospel. " The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." ( Colossians 1:15-17)
From these verses we can see that the Gospel is a person –Jesus Christ. Is there anyone else who took part in the creation?

GENESIS 1:2  says : ".. and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." The Spirit is not a ghost or an energy. The word: "hover" is used only for a mother bird, which flys around her eggs and her newborn babies. The Spirit is not a non – person. He is A person.
The word "spirit" in Hebrew  - "ruah" is translated to "wind, breathe" Hovering, the Spirit collects the creation of the Gospel.
Psalms 33: 6,7 says: "By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
    their starry host by the breath of his mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea into jars"

We cam see that all of the Holy Trinity takes part in the process of the creation.
The author of Genesis – Moses wants to stress the character of the Trinity of God. Bu why you ask? The polytheistic believed in many gods which were constantly fighting with each other for superiority. Today the monoists believe in one God who hasn't experience love in a society but decides to create the creation. Love comes later.

But the Bible tells us in Genesis 1 that God is a community – God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. God has been a community, a circle of love. Three personalities in one God. This is why love is the supreme reality. Love is already existent, the Trinity have known each other in an intimate way before time started, they have enjoyed one another and one day they say: "lets create people who can become part of our circle."

And thus in this chapter God reveals Himself as a loving Creator of everything.In the beginning the earth is desolate and void. God gives shape to the shapeless and later He fills this shape and conserves the creation.

Ten God's commandments lead to 8 facts of the creation, separated in six days so that the first day matches the 4th day and the 2nd day matches the 5ft day and the 3rd day matches the 6st day.

Day one – light and darkness                   Day four – Sun, Moon , Stars
Day two – separation of water from water  Day  five – Fish and Birds
Day three – Land and greenery                 Day six – Animals and the human

Every time the saying " And God said" is accompanied with another saying: "And it was so". This means that every commandment for creation of something is immediately fulfilled. Nevertheless, before each day has passed of the creation it is said "And God saw that it was good"

This fully rejects the theory of evolution for the symbolic meaning of day and night continuing million of years.

"And God saw that it was good" Everything created by God is good. Unlike dualism, Christianity says that the matter is something good, not bad. Thus science isn't being developed in  polytheistic pagan communities but in Christian counties.

On the other hand, unlike atheism, the Bible tells us that not everything is a matter. If it was then our ultimate value would've been the living for the moment, the material things and the pleasure.
Genesis chapter 1 tells us: God created the heaven and the earth thus do not live in the material things. He created you so that you are included in His circle, in His community, in His family.

The eastern religions teach that this world is an illusion, that the body is a prisoner pf the soul, that you need to escape this world because it is not important – thus in the world there aren't any organizations about social righteousness and the removal of the slavery that have been formed.

These things exist only in one world, created by the author of everything that is good.He was the one who created the light, the one to separate the waters, the one who created the heaven, the one who made the land and produced its plants, the one who put the sun, the moon and the stars on the heaven, the one who filled the heavens with birds, and the waters with fish, the one who created the animals. The whole home was prepared for the man.

Genesis 1:26 says:  Then God said, “Let us make mankind...'
The man was created the same day the animals were – the sixth day. The man was also mad from dust as were the animals (Genesis  2:7,19) But the stress is on what makes the man different from the animals.

" Lets us make" is  in contrast with " let the earth produce". God also said : "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness..."
The word used for God in Genesis 1 is "Elohim". And "Elohim" is the plural form of the word: "El" which means God. And the word "El" is used with a verb in a singular form. Which means that the right translation here is : "And Elohim( The Trinity God) said:  "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness..."

The man Is different from the animals because he is the only one to carry God's image and likeliness. The man also has different duties than the animals.
Genesis 1:28 says:" God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

God created the man and the woman. They were mortal, they communicated with God without being afraid of anything, they enjoyed and looked after God's creation. For them hard labor was as a song. And life was delight for them.

The Christian doctrine for the creation is a miracle – it claims that the physical pleasure is good. The Greek mythology and other ancient religions have tried to run away from pleasure, glorifying the asceticism.But the first chapter of Genesis says: this world is good. We are not against pleasure – God has created pleasure.

On the other side, if this world is not important we keep on trying to make it perfect. For the ancient myths and religions salvation is an escape from the earth to some type of heaven but for Christians salvation means to bring heaven on earth.Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 

In this first chapter of the Bible God speaks about the creation because He wants to communicate with it. He wants us to reflect His glory. Everything reflects His glory – the light, the heaven and the see, the birds and the fish. God enjoys the creation. "This is good" and in the end He says: "This is too good."

He created a community of creatures to reflect His glory . He made the people in His image and likeliness and invited them in His circle. That was the purpose of the creation.
In the end God took some rest on the 7th day. And not only did He rest but He also illuminated the 7th day so that we follow His example for having a holy day for rest.

Genesis 1st chapter isn't only  a historic story but it is something more – it is a hymn of glory. But today we can't join this hymn. The nature excites us , it sings a hymn of glory bur we can not sing along with it.The creation invites us to communicate with the Creator but we can cot enter in Him We can't do that because we are in conflict with the Creator. So what can we do?

Today we spoke about 1st chapter of Genesis. Which other book in the Bible begins with the phrase: " In the beginning"? Exactly – the gospel of John , which tells us that the Gospel of God – Jesus Christ came to the earth and became flesh and went to the cross.
But on the cross something completely opposite to Genesis chapter 1 happened. Jesus spoke the gospel but He did not receive an answer. : "My God my God why have you forsaken me?" There wasn't an answer because God's Spirit was not with Him . God the Father abandoned Him. In a way He was empty and had no structure. He was missing. 

Our Creator had to be missing so that we could had been re-constructed. He had to be deconstructed so that we can be reconstructed.

Do you believe that He came to earth, that He was one of us, that he lived amongst us and died on the cross for you, according to 3 prophesies? If you do believe in this then you should know that God loves you and He is telling you : "You are my creation. I have created you in my image. You are good." You need to hear this because up until you do your life is shapeless, lonely and unconstructed.

Could you be feeling some type of hole in yourself and be trying to fill it with money and possessions?

Or you go to the other extreme of the anti – materialism and try to be really good, really religious, really holy, you deny yourself, you punish yourself, so that you can fix the emptiness in you.

But everything you need to do  to fill this emptiness is to believe that Jesus once became empty for you. Then you will have the right attitude towards the Creator and His creation. Then you will be able to enter the circle.

Let's pray.

New Life Church Varna
25.09.2016

/translation: Monika Trifonova/